High Court Reviewing Limits on Police Searches Without Warrants


The Supreme Court today is reviewing a police search of a Los Angeles gang member’s home in a case that could further define Americans’ 4th Amendment protections, says the Los Angeles Times. The case of Walter Fernandez is the latest requiring the court to determine when police may enter and look around a home without a search warrant.

At issue is whether a consent to search provided by one resident of a private home is enough to override an objection from a spouse or roommate, if the objecting party is not present. The 4th Amendment forbids “unreasonable searches and seizures,” and the court was closely divided in 2006 when it ruled that police violated the rights of a Georgia man when they entered his home and searched inside based on his wife's consent. Her husband, had stood in the door and objected. In the Fernandez case, California courts ruled that his earlier objections did not have to be honored because he had been taken away and police returned later to search his apartment.

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